The first time I rode, I had it pretty forward, like what I've read has said to do. It seemed to fit fine on the withers and scapula area, except when my horses front legs were back, it looked like the flap of the saddle was almost going under the ulna. She did not seemed bothered by it, and we rode for an hour or so and she did not show any signs of pain or annoyance, and was trotting or cantering perfectly fine. After the ride, her back was evenly sweaty so I figured I must have done it right.
Today I went on a trail ride with the woman who used to give me lessons, and as I was tacking up my horse, I asked her what she thought about the strange thing happening with the flap of the saddle. She said she thought it was too far forward and needed to go back some. I pushed it back, and she had full range of motion with her legs with no pinching and the girth was about 4-5 inches behind her legs. The front of the saddle was behind the scapula. She said that is how it should be. I know this is true for western, which is what I have been riding my whole life, but isn't Australian different?
We rode for about an hour, and when I got back there was a smallish (maybe 4x4 inches) dry spot on on each side of her back, just behind the withers. When I rubbed on her back she didn't show any signs of soreness, and she didn't show any signs of soreness while riding.
So, which is more important when properly placing the saddle? Even sweat distribution after the ride? Complete freedom of movement of the bones?
She was not showing any signs of pain or discomfort with either position.
Thank you for the help!
The picture posted is from the first ride, where the saddle was more forward. It's a really bad picture but is the only one I had that showed the saddle placement.
I'll take more pictures of the two placements when I see her on Tuesday.